You might wonder which roof kinds and styles are the most suitable for your California home if you are planning a new roofing project. There is a plethora of both positive and negative aspects to take into consideration, including how long your investment will serve you.
How long does a roof last in California? The materials used, the roof’s age, and its exposure to severe weather affect its longevity. Even for a home built in the last 15 years, understanding its lifespan helps plan maintenance and repairs.
Common roof types in California
The level of protection your home receives from the elements of nature is directly proportional to the quality of the roof. Knowing which roofing materials will hold up best in California’s climate is beneficial because certain roof kinds operate better in California than other roofing options.
1. Asphalt shingle
|Premium asphalt shingles||20 to 30 years|
|Architectural/ dimensional asphalt shingles||15 to 25 years|
|3-tab shingles (properly maintained)||10 to 20 years|
People widely use asphalt as a roofing material in Southern California and beyond. It’s an excellent choice for many roofs due to its low cost, ease of installation, and respectable durability.
Asphalt shingles come in many colors, allowing them to adapt to the aesthetic needs of any house. Although inexpensive, asphalt shingles have the shortest lifespan of any roofing material and the worst insulating value.
Composite asphalt shingle roof
More than 80% of homes have composite shingle roofing, making it the most common type. Due to their low price, simple installation, and respectable lifespan, shingles have gained widespread favor.
The normal lifespan of this roofing material is twenty years, but if made of high-quality materials and cared for properly, it can survive for 50 years or more. Consequently, many composite roofs come with a 20- to 50-year warranty, varying from manufacturer to manufacturer.
To produce composite shingles, manufacturers coat an asphalt-soaked organic or fiberglass substrate with asphalt on the underside and impregnate the top surface with tiny shards of slate, schist, quartz, or ceramic granules.
You may extend the life of your asphalt shingle roof by not walking on it and by not buying the cheapest shingles available. Never use high-pressure water on an asphalt shingle roof, but keep it free of moss.
Asphalt 3-Tab roofing shingles
Manufacturers typically specify a 25-year lifespan for 3-tab shingles and a 30-year lifespan for architectural shingles. Given the factors that affect a roof’s life, asphalt shingles should endure about 80% to 85% of their maximum lifespan.
Asphalt Fiberglass 3D Roofing Shingles
Three-dimensional asphalt fiberglass roofing shingles are still another choice. If you take care of your fiberglass shingles, they should last you 30 to 50 years.
2. Metal Roofing
|Tin||Over 50 years|
|Ribbed metal (with exposed fasteners)||25 to 40 years|
|Ribbed metal (with concealed fasteners)||30 to 40 years|
|Standing seam||30 to 50 years or more|
|Copper and zinc||100 years or longer|
Although most people think of commercial or industrial structures when they hear the word “metal roofing,” the truth is that many contemporary houses also have roofs made of metal. Traditionally, people limited metal roofing to commercial and industrial structures before recent technological advancements.
Many homeowners are now choosing to install metal roofing on their own houses.
Various design choices are available, ranging from the conventional appearance of metal roof panels to those that imitate the appearance of wood shakes and shingles, slate, or tile. They are available in metals with a high percentage of recycled content, such as copper, aluminum, and stainless steel.
Metal roofing, despite its weight, is known for its durability and resistance to fire. It has a far longer lifespan than other materials, is much lighter than those materials, and can tolerate high temperatures without breaking down.
A metal roof can last for up to 75 years when the conditions are perfect. These roofs are fully maintenance-free and can go for a very long time without needing any repairs. Even though they are readily dented, they have a very long lifespan.
Standing-seam metal roof
Even though they have a lifespan of anywhere between 30 and 50 years, information regarding the standing-seam metal roof’s durability is still being acquired because it is a product that is still relatively new. Standing-seam metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular, most notably in high-fire-risk regions.
They consist of massive steel panels placed on the roof deck with the seams overlapping in elevated ridges that run vertically along the roof slope.
However, they are not suitable for home assembly. You can extend the time they are used by keeping a close eye on them and looking for any symptoms of wear and tear.
These include bending or slipping panels or a failure of the fasteners or sealants. This will help you maximize the amount of time they are useful.
3. Clay tile and concrete tile
|Clay tile||50 to 100 years|
|Concrete tile roofs||40 to 75 years|
Many California homes choose concrete tile roofs, either flat or in an S pattern. There are many positives to using concrete tiles but also some negatives. A clay tile roof can last for a century or more with the right care when laid correctly.
Roof tiles can be created from various materials, including the more common terracotta clay baked to create ceramic tiles or even concrete. All three are made up of individual tiles laid in overlapping layers across the roof’s surface, and all three are about as strong and durable as one another.
Tiles made of concrete are manufactured from a mixture of Portland cement and sand, whereas tiles made of clay are made from natural clay and then burnt in a kiln. Although tile roofing is fireproof and long-lasting, it is also considerably heavier and more expensive than asphalt shingles or fiber cement products.
You may need to strengthen your roof if you take that route.
Although clay tile roofs are most common in the Southwest United States due to their strength and durability, you may find them all over the country. They are heavy, so only trained professionals should place them on your roof.
You should also be sure your framework is strong enough to support them, but this may be the last roof replacement you ever need to make.
However, even though the roofing tiles last a long time. The underlayment does not. The underlayment is what keeps your roof dry. The tile acts as a channel to shed water off the roof and protect the underlayment from UV rays. How long does underlayment last in California? Here is a general chart:
|Asphalt underlayments (30# to 40#) Organic||Around 15 to 20 years|
|Rubberized underlayments and semi-synthetics (40#)||25+ years|
There are many different brands of tile underlayments. We won’t go through each brand, but here are the two top brands. TU-43 is a fiberglass-reinforced underlayment infused with more rubber than organic material. Then there is a self-adhering tile underlayment called Boral Tile Seal that is incredibly heat resistant. Both products are great and work well in the California climate!
How to maintain your tile roof
Tile roofs are more vulnerable to cracking, so, when possible, stay off your tile roof. If efflorescence appears on your tiles, as it often does, simply rub it off with a dry towel.
Apply a coat of clear alkyd primer over the tiles and immediately replace any broken or cracked tiles. Unlike wood shakes, shingles, or composite shingles, the disadvantage of tile roofing is not rot but rather the gradual loss of mineral grains.
4. Slate Roofing
Slate roofing utilizes genuine stone cut from quarries instead of molded clays or concrete. It is a thick, impermeable material that tends to break into flat slabs, making slate widely regarded as the best natural stone for roofing.
These characteristics can vary from one location to the next, so different shades of slate are naturally occurring. The chemical and mineral makeups of the material give rise to its hue.
Slate roofs possess natural beauty but require reinforcement for installation on many residential roofs due to their extreme weight. They also have far higher labor expenses than asphalt and other inexpensive roofing options.
A skilled mason or tile setter is required to set up the slate. It’s the priciest standard roofing material, but it lasts the longest also (30-100 years). Slate might last as long as your house (perhaps even two centuries) if you take good care of it.
People worldwide still use ancient slate roofs, which have protected homes for hundreds of years. It is important to fix broken tiles as soon as possible if you want your slate roof to operate as long as possible.
“Slate is a fairly popular roof in Alabama. The problem with slate is the cost to install. Slate will never be an affordable option since it is a niche roof, and not that many people get them installed. However, slate is one of the longest lasting roofs available. The slates are durable and last long. If the broken ones are replaced then your slate roof will most likely outlive you!”Jordan Woolf | Owner of Roofing Company in Huntsville Alabama
What about flat roofs?
Compared to a standard sloped roof, such as one made of shingles, tiles, or metal, a flat roof has a completely distinct appearance and operates very differently. If they are well maintained, flat roofs typically have a lifespan that ranges from 15 to 25 years.
This is the typical expectation, but it may vary with the materials used in their construction.
Rubber roofing, also known as membrane roofing, comes in large sheets and shares construction similarities with rolled asphalt roofing.Many consider membrane roofing the superior choice for low-slope or flat roofs.
Large sections of roofing materials aid in restricting water infiltration in a different way than shingle-type roof materials do. This is by minimizing the number of seams. Shingle-type roof materials perform a good job of keeping water out of a building.
Neoprene, EPDM, and PVC are some of the most common materials used for roofing membranes.You can reasonably anticipate the membrane’s effective function for 20-35 years before it wears out and needs replacement.
Built-Up Roof (BUR)
Built-up roofs, also known as BURs, are multi-layered roofs constructed by alternating layers of roofing felt. The layers include at least three layers of water-repellent material, each alternating with a coating of hot tar and ballasted by a layer of river stone with a flat surface.
They also have water-repellent materials such as fiberglass and hot tar. This results in the creation of a built-up roof (bitumen).
Tar paper roofs evolved to modern fiberglass membranes for better durability and performance, leaving traditional materials behind.
Installing a BUR roof is a nasty procedure, but the roof itself is fire-resistant and affordable. It is normally applied to roofs that are either completely flat or have a minor pitch.
The lifespan of a BUR roof is normally between 20 and 30 years. Regular inspections, repairs, and debris removal are essential for maximizing the lifespan of a built-up roof and preventing deterioration.
How the California weather affects roofs
Your roof is vital in guarding your home against the elements, serving as a primary defense against weather and environmental threats. Materials on your roof will deteriorate quickly under adverse weather conditions.
Weather damage necessitates roof maintenance or replacement; awareness is crucial for preserving structural integrity and preventing costly repairs. There are two ways in which weather can shorten the life of a newly constructed roof: gradually, as with aging, and suddenly, as with damage caused by a storm.
The weather in the central valley
Extreme heat is common in the northern Central Valley of California during the summer. In the winter, temperatures drop, and precipitation increases. In Central Valley, the average high temperature is 81°F (27.4 °C) in July, while the average low temperature is 63 °F (17.4 °C).
From December 2nd to March 10th, the average daily high is below 43 (6.1°C)°F, making this the cold season. This valley section receives an average of over 18 inches of precipitation annually.Most precipitation falls from October to April, increasing humidity by at least 75%, with a significant impact on the climate.
The choice of roofing materials determines how long your roof will last under these conditions. Asphalt shingles degrade quickly in intense sunlight and humidity, often needing replacement or maintenance within a few years.
Heat damage to the roofs by the sun
If you thought it was hot outside, you should know that your roof may reach 160 °F even when the temperature is only 90°F outside. Solar radiation can cause plastic and metal roofing and home components to crack and warp.
When exposed to direct sunshine, asphalt quickly becomes too hot and begins to deform, run, or wear out. Shingles exposed to sunshine deteriorate and wear out more quickly.
The sun’s heat quickens the deterioration of roof materials. A roof’s waterproofing characteristics degrade over time as the sun’s UV rays strip away any remaining oils, leaving the surface dry and brittle.
Heat damage to asphalt shingle roofs typically manifests as:
- Roofing shingle discoloration
- Rounded corners
- Broken shingles
- Leaking roofs
- Disintegrating surface
We now know that prolonged exposure to the sun and summer heat can distort roofing shingles, but what about roof tiles?Roofing tiles are sturdy, but they can crack with too much heat.
They can break, therefore compromising the roof and exposing it to leaks. Fractures in the roof not only look bad but also accelerate underlayment exposure, potentially shortening the roof’s lifespan.
What can homeowners do to make their roofs last?
People living in California are accustomed to enduring the relentless sweltering heat and humidity. Heat can damage roofing materials, so repair any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
Any building’s roof is its primary protection against the sun’s rays. Keep an eye out for cracks, no matter how minor, as the summer heat wreaks havoc.
Inspect your roof annually in hot summer months to fix broken tiles, ensuring its maintenance and longevity.. Roof Doctors is equipped to fix any damages on your roof and offer advice on additional roof maintenance needs.
Metal roofing is a popular choice since it is long-lasting, cost-effective, and meets the homeowners’ desire for durability. The material is much less likely to deteriorate in intense heat than other roofing materials.
Metal roofs endure heat and weather but need regular maintenance, like any material, to ensure long-lasting performance. Keeping up with repairs will extend the life of your roof and ensure that your home stays dry and warm.
The most important thing to take away from this post is that maintenance is key to a long-lasting roof in California. A broken tile with exposed tile underlayment or a few wind-damaged shingles will greatly reduce the lifetime of a roof. You should maintain your residential roof every 5 years.
People must maintain commercial roofs as frequently as residential roofs. Generally, a commercial roof will last as long as a residential roof in California.
” Commercial Roofs will last from 10 to 40 years. There are more options on commercial roofs when it comes to material selections. Commercial roofs are usually more robust than residential roofs and are built to last longer.”Tyler Hull | Commercial Roofer in Milwaukee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Californians have a penchant for metal roofing, and with good cause. It’s one of the few materials that can withstand the region’s extreme heat; however, it doesn’t make it indestructible.
Contact Roof Doctors’ experts if your metal roof exhibits any of the issues mentioned above or if you wish to have it inspected to prevent future catastrophes. Some of these problems include:
1. Color retention
2. Oil canning
Despite developments in flame retardants, the city of Los Angeles has banned the use of wood in constructing new residences and has pushed for replacement; understandable that California would want to prevent any safety issues by prohibiting cedar shake shingles.
California state law requires that all wood roofing sold in the state be coated with a fire retardant and pass a natural weathering test. Given the high risk of devastating wildfires in many parts of the world, it is essential to make every effort to reduce this risk.
This necessitated foregoing the attractive wood shake appearance, which is no longer necessary.